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Spain approves spending package a week before elections

Source: El Pais - Thu 14th May 2015
Spain approves spending package a week before elections

With a week to go before Spain holds local and regional elections, and with campaigning in full swing, the government has just approved a spending package aimed at consumers and families.

One of the programs, Plan Pive, seeks to boost car sales, while the Family Support Plan includes tax deductions for households that meet certain conditions.

Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria of the center-right Partido Popular played down any relation between this measure and the proximity of the polls.

"With four elections scheduled this year, we wouldn't be able to approve anything," she said at a post-Cabinet meeting press conference, which was brought forward a day due to a local holiday in Madrid tomorrow.

Health Minister Alfonso Alonso said that the family plan also hopes to increase birth rates in Spain.

"We are the people on the planet who live the longest and who have the fewest children," he said in reference to Spaniards. From 2016 onwards, the program will give working mothers who retire an additional 5% on their pension checks if they had 2 children, 10% if they had 3 and 15% if they had more.

The program was first announced in July 2012 and will have an annual budget of 5.5 billion to fund welfare measures, work-family balance, maternity incentives and tax deductions of 1,200 for single-parent and large families.

Other spending decisions to come out of Thursday's Cabinet meeting include the construction of a rail link between Barcelona and El Prat airport, at a cost of 200 million.

Also on Thursday, the government passed a decree that honors a recurring demand from the movie industry. After a four years of negotiations, film production tax rebates will be paid ahead of time, not two or three years following the theatrical release, as is currently the case.

This means that producers will now know how much public funding they can count on before filming begins. The reforms to the Cinema Law will go into effect in 2016.

Recommended Reading :

* Spain's PP in lead as Podemos loses ground

* Spain's PP seen losing Valencia seats in election

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